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Zimbabwe: Smashed dreams

As long as I can remember I have wanted to visit Africa. I first read Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines when I was about seven, and Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country when I was ten. The romance – to a child – of the European exploration of the continent, its wildlife, and its scenery – probably sparked my early interest. My awareness, particularly after reading Cry, the Beloved Country, of the injustices of colonial and post-colonial exploitation of the peoples of Africa grew through my adolescence, helped along quite nicely by things like the protests against the 1971 Springbok tour.

Like many Australians, young and old, I was horrified by Ian Smith’s 1965 Unilateral Declaration of Independence, and was relieved when Zimbabwe finally came into being in 1980, following the transition to majority rule.

Back in 1980, Zimbabwe was the bread-basket of eastern Africa. Blacks and whites were living in (relative) harmony, the economy was in good shape. … Now, 28 years on, millions of people have fled to neighbouring countries, inflation is running at a mind-boggling 164,900%, and in Zimbabwe itself starvation is a grim reality for most people.

On 29 March 2008 Zimbabweans voted in presidential and parliamentary elections. Initial reports had the opposition MDC and the ruling ZANU-PF parties running neck-and-neck. Although the opposition MDC party claimed victory soon after the elections, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission refused to release the results. A partial recount has been taking place amid reports of irregularities and a campaign of violence against people who voted for the opposition.

Over the past twenty-four hours there have been some interesting developments – one, external to the country, that may be seen as positive; the other, internal event, deeply disturbing.

First, however, an extract from an article by CNN’s Africa correspondent Jeff Koinange:

I was 14 years old in 1980 and vividly recall that historic day on April 18 when the southern African nation of Rhodesia became independent Zimbabwe.

I remember the British flag being lowered and the Zimbabwean one being raised. To me, it seemed there wasn't a dry eye in the crowd at Rufaru Stadium in the country's newly named capital, Harare, previously known as Salisbury.

Watching these events unfolding on my black and white TV in not-too-distant Kenya, I thought what a great feat this nation had just accomplished.

Also impressive for me that night was the man speaking at the podium, the bespectacled, articulate, smartly dressed and newly elected prime minister of independent Zimbabwe: Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

His speech was like nothing I'd ever heard. His diction, impeccable -- his command of the English language, inspirational.

Mugabe was the toast of his nation that night, and the envy of millions across Africa. In the minds of most, he could do no wrong having inherited a stable economy, a solid infrastructure and an agriculturally rich nation.

How wrong they turned out to be.

I was in Zimbabwe for those first farm invasions in April 2000. What I saw was a country in a state of self-strangulation. One of the white farmers being forced off his farm told me: "Mugabe's about to cut off his nose to spite his face."

At least 12 white farmers were killed in the next few months. Months later, the confiscated farms ended up in the hands of Mugabe's close allies. Few of them had experience farming and the land quickly deteriorated to the point of lying barren.

Mugabe also clamped down on just about everything and everyone he felt was a threat, from lawyers to doctors to teachers and nurses. He even went after the churches.

Zimbabweans have been fleeing their country across the border into South Africa in large numbers.

The United Nations estimates there are now more than three million Zimbabwe exiles in South Africa alone. That's about one-fourth of Zimbabwe's population. Many more have fled to Europe, Australia, the United States and Canada.

What Zimbabweans are leaving behind is a country spiraling out of control. Inflation is the highest in the world -- at more than 1,700 percent. The country's currency -- the Zimbabwe dollar -- is being printed so fast that Morgan Tsvangirai, the country's opposition leader, declared, "Zimbabwe is the only nation in the world where millionaires go to bed hungry."

Add to all this what happened just weeks ago: the battered, bruised and bloodied images of opposition members who'd been savagely attacked while in police custody.

Mugabe had managed with this single incident to turn his splintering opposition into global heroes. Whatever Mugabe's intentions had been, these pictures, Africa watchers say, had shown a gross miscalculation on his part and a possible sign he may be starting to lose his grip.

So, to the developments of the past day. First, Jendayi Frazer, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, has said that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was the "clear victor" of last month's election:

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer is visiting southern Africa to consult with the region's governments on Zimbabwe's election crisis. Almost four weeks after Zimbabweans voted in elections on March 29, the government has failed to release the results of presidential polling.

"The most credible results we have today are a clear victory for Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round and maybe a total victory," Frazer said, according to Agence France-Presse. Frazer added that "there should be a change."

According to the Associated Press, Frazer acknowledged the possibility that negotiations between the ruling party, led by President Robert Mugabe, and the opposition may be necessary. "There may need to be a political solution, a negotiated solution," she said.

Reuters reported that Frazer, citing the long delay in releasing results, told reporters: "We now doubt the credibility of any results that would be released."

She added that she supports an arms embargo on Zimbabwe, as proposed by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Maybe, just maybe, the international community might be moving to help resolve the situation. If so, it had better move fast – Zimbabwe police have stormed the opposition MDC party’s office:

Armed riot police have raided the headquarters of Zimbabwe's main opposition party in Harare and arrested scores of activists.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Nelson Chamisa said those arrested had fled political violence.

The MDC says its activists have been attacked around the country - with at least 10 killed - since the elections. Many have fled to Harare and other towns, seeking medical treatment.

But the police and Zanu-PF say that no-one has died in political violence.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has fled Zimbabwe, fearing for his safety and is touring African countries, trying to persuade them to press President Robert Mugabe to step down.

The MDC says Mr Tsvangirai gained 50.3% of the vote, although independent monitors say he received just below the 50% threshold.

On Friday, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported that the houses of at least eight Zanu-PF activists had been burned by MDC supporters in Mashonaland East province.

A Reuters news agency correspondent says more than 100 MDC supporters were arrested in the raid on its Harvest House offices in central Harare.

"They took everyone in the building, including those who had come just to seek medical care. They are trying to destroy evidence of their brutality," Mr Chamisa said.

He said the police also seized computers and documents.

I sometimes wonder whether things would have been any different had Joshua Nkomo been elected president instead of Robert Mugabe …

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3 million refugees

While much is written on WD about the people who have reportedly left Iraq since the invasion, little is said about the 3 million Zimbabweans who have been forced to flee Mugabe.

So leaving a dictator in power has just as catastrophic effects as removing one.

And now in South Africa we see the flow on effect of millions of refugees.

What was that Dylan Kissane mentioned about the refugees having to be absorbed? No one country can realistically absorb three million refugees.

Let us hope Mugabe is defeated, though he will no doubt rig the poll in order to stay in power, again.

Thanks for the video....

....Angela Ryan, (and for the site). Most interesting.

Sanctions? Really?

Angela Ryan: "For those who actually think that the trade blockade and embargo and personal asset freezes and stoppage of fuel and currency and loans for Zimbabwe are all due to human rights failure by Mugabe regime (or shall we sue WMD for him too?)"

There isn't any trade blockade or embargo against Zimbabwe (apart from the recent set back for Chinese guns).

There most certainly isn't a trade embargo on gasoline and agriculture products. The shortage problem is caused by the fact that Zimbabwe simply cannot pay for such things. This is generally what comes about when idiots, and thieves ruin an economy. Actually, the economic sanctions against pre -1980 Zimbabwe were much tougher than the present sanctions.

The sanctions themselves apply to the Mugabe government, and those people that are a part of it. The sanctions are on such things as international travel to Switzerland (hardly a major trading partner), and "personal" assets of a number of government individuals held abroad. Angela may disagree, but I think the wives and mistresses may survive without the Parisian shopping experience - and the life and death impotence it brings to Zimbabwe's poverty stricken.

Btw the assets are "frozen" and they will be returned to a future Zimbabwe government - meeting a number of recent requirements relating to international secret banking, and the third world thieves (that Angela calls leaders).

The rest of it is standard conspiracy fare, and not worth comment.

Zimbabwe’s collective punishment engineered by the World Order

Most here at Webdiary think for themselves and are capable of being logical and analytic. According to a West Australian study that is better than the over 30% of Americans who still think that WMD were really found in Iraq.

It is the lack of scepticism in the US population as compared to Australia and Germany that results in the different processing of new information. Time and time again on this site we see such failure to initially question the main line data by our US based/trained contributors, which is an interesting trait. Failure to question new data makes the planting of false memory data easy, as seen in the WMD etc beliefs in the US. This has been well known in propaganda circles since before WW2. Play to your type of audience.

I wonder what those here would scale on the sceptic tests of Dr Lewandowsky.

For those who actually think that the trade blockade and embargo and personal asset freezes and stoppage of fuel and currency and loans for Zimbabwe are all due to human rights failure by Mugabe regime (or shall we sue WMD for him too?) as compared to the human rights failures of so VERY many of our ALLIES and other puppet associates in the big world of corporate control), then do watch this little taste of what all this is really about.

Even read the book if you are seeking details.

Work with that model and all the pieces start to fall into place as far as which nations receive our aid and which leaders – regardless of their actions at “home” – are feted.

It doesn't take a huge intellect.

What is the real answer? That is the question we should all be asking now. What is "the international model for humanity for the next millennium that we can strive towards?"

Is it exploitation of the majority for the gorging and partying of the elite while the majority who pay for the partying are fed the usual soupçon of simplified propaganda and feel good popular culture and the third world majority are crushed into a slavery existence?

Or is it a real awakening? A real searching for a solution to the poverty and environmental problems that perhaps will mean a move away from the funding of the throwaway cheap goods production society that survives only thanks to a huge poor majority?

Facing the real truth about Zimbabwe – that Mugabe, the English educated native who has rejected the imperialists as Heidi says, is choosing freedom from this role of serving the corporations at the cost to all his people that is mounting.

Ask yourself really, why we cannot trade with Zimbabwe, why the money from the IMF has stopped, why the usual stooge propaganda writers and their mouth piece broadcasters have Mugabe on a hit list. Why not the Saudi princes? Why not the Israeli leaders? Why not Bush et al and the conspirators for the Iraq War lies? Why not the Indonesian leadership? Why not the Chinese leadership? Why choose Zimbabwe "human rights" issues and why now, while leaving the gorilla in the room war criminals of the world to party on?

All of these are guilty of terrible crimes yet are still on the propaganda A list, feted and wooed. Over and over corruption, lies, deceit, are rewarded by greater bounty and no media hounds are released are they? Only for those who say Nay and defy.

All of these are so far staying part of, or even guiding, the world order and its economic control.

This is not about human rights, or crimes, or anything other than an imperialist attack upon nations by the usual suspects and already described by Perkins in his Economic Hitman book.

If Perkins is right and the choice is a bullet or billions then those who stand up and refuse to play, like the murdered Bolivian leader, suffer the consequences.

Perhaps. The propaganda attack upon Putin is obvious. The coverage of the elections in Zimbabwe puts the US press to shame regarding the fraudulent US elections.

And does this give cause to think why Kev has the press – the Murdoch press – behind him here? For the same reason the hand picked chair of committee for Security 20/20 came up with the "Australia has to be the nuclear dump and get nuclear weapons" strategy.

And Benazir Bhutto? "no longer will those who command be able to assume Pakistan will jump to such"." And we will investigate the FUNDING of the attack". Boom, away goes she.

So far Mugabe is holding out for the bullet. rather than the easy life billions. With the media attention one suspects he will be an example . It is too dangerous to allow a leader to continue in this present climate without challenge . But at 84 perhaps he sees a bit more to life's journey than selling one's people out for his personal Swiss account.

"Freedom " from slavery, even comfortable slavery, has always been an American ideal. How tricky the propaganda job must be to blind so many to what freedom others are striving for against their conniving for their tiny elite and the collective punishment that elite smothers upon the peoples who dare to say nay and defy .

"I once was blind but now can see" was written by a slaver.

Truly the American people, with the true principles that could shape a new world to a more beautiful form, if they only knew what is done in their name, would be the angriest of all. They must be taught scepticism. Once they realise their government has schemed and lied to them they will start to learn.

So here is that synopsis again.

I wonder, if we ever had been given a choice, would we have chosen freedom with the collective punitive suffering such a choice gains from the WO, or our current role of unquestioning servility and son sacrifice(Liberating Afghanistan and Iraq at present), but with our purchasing power and our credit cards?

Now OK, consider further a different situation: what choice would you make if the fabulous wealth of our resources was not going to go at all to any of us and we were a third world poverty-stricken nation and forced into debt for infrastructure we don’t need and our children had no future but this mire of suffering and slavery?

This is the current world order.

World order techniques: Confessions of Economic Hitman joins the dots.

Cheers

ZANU-PF thugs destroy food stores

Angela, I think you are quite wrong about Mugabe, whose Zanu-PF thugs are, according to this site, cheerfully destroying the food stores of their opponents. That is, when they are not beating their opponents to death.  

But at the same time, if you wish to continue the 'Zimbabwe as World Order (imperialist victim)' line, perhaps you would be better advised to change it to one of 'see what the imperialists made Robert Mugabe do'. That way, you could join the rest of us in condemnation of what is going on in Zimbabwe: the acts of terror and violence against those who choose not to vote for or support Mugabe, and not be seen to be an approver of Mugabe's campaign of repression, intimidation and outright murder. 

Mind you, if you take such a position, I don't think Mugabe will thank you for it.

How to show a dictator the door

Ms. Holland, who first met Mr. Mugabe in 1975 and interviewed him again last year, said he was a remote, emotionally immature, dogged, bookish man who is obsessed with Britain as a kind of parental figure. She said he felt humiliated because, in his view, Britain reneged on financial commitments he believed were made at the time of independence in 1980.

For her, the way out of this mess may be more psychological.

“Revenge is a key word for Mugabe,” she says. “He says, I don’t have a quarrel with the United States, or the United Nations. He wants Britain to come to him and say: ‘O.K. We will now talk.’ All he wants is recognition.”

Heidi Holland, author of the book Dinner with Mugabe, has some useful insights into Mugabe and the situation in Zimbabwe. She was interviewed by Phillip Adams on Late Night Live last night.

Of course investment in Zimbabwe will be good

Angela Ryan: "So Paul, do you not think that nations have a right to make their own laws regarding property rights?"

Obviously governments make the laws regarding property rights. What I think of it is neither here nor there. My only choice is what I invest in, and what I don't - the same can be said for everyone on here.

Do you really think that the MDC agenda proclaimed of disposing of Zimbabwe's assets to whatever foreign agents that have the capital to buy them is going to help the local people ?

Investment of capital will help Zimbabwe (people). It matters not where the capital comes from - as long as it ends up in Zimbabwe. I've no idea what you mean by "foreign agent". I once sold a property to a Korean guy; maybe he was a "foreign agent"? Shoot, and here I was thinking he just offered top coin.

It didn't help the Russians when the foreign bankers bought at bargain basement prices all their assets sold by the dissolute Yeltsin regime.

You seem to use this particular example numerous times. What, do you think I agree with what went down in Russia, or something? For the record I don't agree with crony capitalism. Boris Yeltsin was obviously a very poor choice for President - the man couldn't run himself, let alone a country. Incidentally, most problems in Russia was caused by the crony capitalism of other Russians.

It won't help Americans for the Chinese government , Saudis and Singapore government and Mexican drug lords to buy up their means of production when their economy crashes.

Investment of capital always helps. America attracts the most investment capital in the world. A good reason why it's also the richest nation in the world.

Should not a nation protect it's citoyens from such economic pillaging when their economy is vulnerable , which itself may be due to market manipulation?

Sure, so what is it you fear will be "pillaged" by "foreign agents" in Zimbabwe?

We shall see when the vultures start to feed what is for sale and what is allowed to be sold. So far the Us has blocked communcations, weapons, port facilities from Chinese aquisistion. But is'nt that against freemarket pricniples, Paul??

"Vultures" now is it? Geez, I'd hate to be the person looking at your house; if you decided on a move!

And that national security might includec controlling the means of production that it's people need to survive and what foreing power interests are there?

The only if; I'd have on who owns what, is in regards to foreign sovereign funds. Certainly a business is a business - and it's there to make money. The problem with sovereign funds is that all people aren't free to be investors. Nations are rightly moving away from government ownership; they don't need to be moving right back into it - be it by another government.

Hmmm. Putin does.

Perhaps, though, it might just be the case of not getting the right offer. If Russia were to be offered double what their oil reserves were ever going to be worth, I'd find it most unlikely they'd knock back the offer.

I wish we were more aware and less about to be exploited with the waste dump we deserve for our ignorance and apathy and lack of conscience for others when vulnerable.

No idea what this means.

The standard Marxist analysis

Who is running agriculture in Zimbabwe:

The Zimbabwean government says it has resettled 200,000 new farmers and fewer than 400 white farmers are still believed to be operating in the country.

What a tomato costs in Zimbabwe:

Inflation in Zimbabwe has reached such proportions that it destroyed the value of a new national currency before a single one of its banknotes had been spent. The largest note, $Z1000 ($A5), buys just one tomato.

Who Mugabe blames for the food shortages:

Mugabe's government blames drought and Western sanctions.

Zimbabwe Economic hitman or data contradicts this? Et tu?

Hi Craig , thanks for adding an evidence-based argument , it is always refreshing to see one with intellect use available data to do a bit of analysing and thinking rather than just someone regurgitating rhetoric about events and situations like some propaganda machine. The latter one sees so often on other websites and even MSM. As an aside, how interesting was it to read of the Pentagon pulling the puppet strings of the MSM "opinionists" in the Iraq war build-up eh?

What you say is interesting. I do hope someone can find out just what the MDC plans to do with land reform should they gain power. I'm sure all their absentee landlord expat backers would like to know too.

The big picture of regional Africa is needed to truly compare the function of the landed farming communities in Zimbabwe and other neighbours like Zambia, for example. How much of the farming drop is from mismanagement of the land resource (as one would expect to a degree initially from any group newly landed and one still sees here and in the US in the dustbowl areas) and how much is from lack of fuel, proper grain subspecies, severe drought (dropped our production didn't it?) and social disruption from the changes such as distribution pathways and then add the foreign market embargos as to where the export products might go...?

It seems such a discussion must include the multifactorial nature of the problem.

Such data is hard to discover and so one must compare to other nations nearby and their recent results as far as agriculture go. Now let's see, just how are Zambia and Uganda et al going? And are their actual populations being fed?

As to property ownership, is seems that such changes with regime changes in many countries, especially when there has been war. And if the vanquished are still allowed their property at all it is usually an aberration of history. One can think of many examples, but perhaps only if one knows or has studied history. What a blank slab one's knowledge must be if one has not. Difficult to understand current events at all methinks, as every past action has a Newtonian rule-like action echoing down history.

If the threat to Zimbabwe's sovereignty was allayed for all times the business of proper democratic freedom building can properly begin. Now why does that sound so familiar?

So Paul, do you not think that nations have a right to make their own laws regarding property rights? Do you really think that the MDC’s proclaimed agenda of disposing of Zimbabwe's assets to whatever foreign agents that have the capital to buy them is going to help the local people? It didn't help the Russians when the foreign bankers bought at bargain basement prices all their assets sold by the dissolute Yeltsin regime. It won't help Americans for the Chinese government, the Saudis, the Singapore government and Mexican drug lords to buy up their means of production when their economy crashes.

Should not a nation protect its citoyens from such economic pillaging when their economy is vulnerable, which itself may be due to market manipulation?

We shall see when the vultures start to feed what is for sale and what is allowed to be sold. So far the US has blocked communications, weapons, and port facilities from Chinese acquisition. But isn’t that against free market principles, Paul??

Or would you consider that free market gives way to national security at times?

And that national security might include controlling the means of production that its people need to survive and what foreign power interests are there?

Hmmm. Putin does.

I wish we were more aware and less about to be exploited with the waste dump we deserve for our ignorance and apathy and lack of conscience for others when vulnerable.

All about Mugabe

Angela, as with all the Mugabe types in African history, it is not the interests of the people that he is concerned with. He cares not whether they starve, whether they have a roof over their heads or have a life expectancy less than half of his own age.  

His sort only care about power, and how they are going to hold onto it.

If it were not so he would accept the fact that he lost the election and get out of the way and let someone else try and rebuiltd his country and a future for his people.

That he refuses to do so speaks for itself. Make all the external excuses and excuses through past wrongs you like, but the inescapable fact is that Mugabe cares about no one but himself - oh, and those necessary to help him stay in power such as the thugs running around the countryside. 

As I said before, there can be no excuses for this man.

Life is full of surprises

Angela: "Should not a nation protect its citoyens [strike up the Marseillaise!] from such economic pillaging when their economy is vulnerable , which itself may be due to market manipulation?"

It would seem that Mugabe has gone far beyond economic 'pillaging' of the Zimbabwean people, when the catastrophic inflation has wiped out any savings they may have had.

From Norman Geras:

It is one of the unhappy laws of this world that the occurrence of a new calamity doesn't erase ongoing injustice. Attention to Zimbabwe in the aftermath of the recent election has waned somewhat, but the assault by Mugabe's regime on those who voted against him continues unabated.

Gangs of ruling party youths beat to death 11 opposition activists in a remote Zimbabwean town Monday, setting a gruesome new standard for the post-election violence surging through that nation, according to opposition party officials.
And:

Zimbabwe's ruling party, bent on retaining control after 28 years in power, has broadened its campaign of intimidation and violence to include teachers and even aid workers, disrupting education and basic care for tens of thousands of children across the country, according to humanitarian groups, union officials and the teachers themselves.

I hope those original links still work.

You seek to defend the Zimbabwean people against oppression from without, which is itself a worthy cause. Unfortunately you are trying to do it via justification of the huge oppression coming from within, from the entrenched and ruthless elite.

You surprise me. You really do.

Odd Facts

Craig Rowley

Fact: I did not address that question to Paul Morrella.

Fact: You didn't address the question to any person by name. That you were questioning me previously led me to the assumption; that the question was addressed to me. Maybe it was addressed to Robert Mugabe or some such - only you would know what's in your own mind.

You did however (even though the question wasn't addressed to me apparently), feel the need to make a reply in your very next post.

Fact: Paul Morrella acknowledged the knowledge of issues necessary to answer my question is "way outside [his] field, and something [he is] far from an expert on."

Only you seem to understand the issues you need addressed. Certainly the issues don't seem to be of an economic nature.

Fact: A direct quote from MDC policy: "The MDC is fully committed to righting the historical imbalance in land distribution."

You'll be providing a link to this quote no doubt? Being a part of webdiary ethics and all.

Fact: These facts are now obvious to any person.

They're not obvious to me - and why do you write as if you are addressing a Court? Who's the Jury in this particular case?

 

My Last Word

Craig Rowley: "The land question, over which the liberation struggle was fought, hasn't yet been settled in Zimbabwe, nor elsewhere in Africa, and it will not be solved by the "free market" alone."

If all people agreed to a basic respect of free market property rights regardless of creed, gender, religion, the question will be settled. If they don't it won't. I've only said the signs from the opposition are hopeful. I've never stated the opposition will be a cure all - for that answer I can only wait and watch.

And Paul, judging by your comments on it, you've obviously never read the Lancaster House Agreement(presumbly because it's not your field).

I had a quick look at it on wikipedia after you brought it into the discussion. Of course up until that point I was dealing with the subject of Zimbabwe's economic state. I didn't then, and I don't now, know what this particular agreement had to do with Zimbabwe's currently ruinous economic ways.

It's a foolish thing to comment on it the way you do without having read it. If you do read it, you'd see what it dealt with and that most was concluded a long time ago (i.e. the ceasefire) and the another part (that to be traded for the ceasefire) was "put to bed" by the British a long time ago.

If most of this agreement was "put to bed", and it deals with so much more than land reform; why ask me this original question?

Craig Rowley on May 4, 2008 - 9:20pm.

A democratic government in Zimbabwe, should one finally come, would still face the problem of land reform. How will it solve that problem? Reinstate the "willing seller, willing buyer" clause of the Lancaster House Agreement?

I answered the question. The answer was that there was no need to reinstate this clause because the reasoning for it no longer exists. The clause was there to address the imbalance of land ownership between white, and black farmers. It is obvious to any person this is no longer the case in present day Zimbabwe. It is also obvious to any person that the opposition no longer sees addressing this imbalance as priority above economics. A free land market system will in any case give you a "willing seller, willing buyer market. One, incidentally, not based on race, religion or gender (Lancaster House Agreement).

I can only assume that you were never going to accept any answer I would've given. The posts following merely added more, and more layers, that moved the subject away from the current economic conditions, attempting to make it a test of my knowledge on Zimbabwe's history, legal, and social conditions. Something that is way outside my field, and something I am far from an expert on.

I wish any decent person (non thug) in Zimbabwe or associated with Zimbabwe the best of luck going into the future.

Facts

Paul Morrella: "... why ask me this original question?"

Fact: I did not address that question to Paul Morrella.   

Fact: Paul Morrella replied to that question despite it not being addressed to him.

Fact: Paul Morrella acknowledged the knowledge of issues necessary to answer my question is "way outside [his] field, and something [he is] far from an expert on."

Fact: A direct quote from MDC policy: "The MDC is fully committed to righting the historical imbalance in land distribution."

Fact:  The direct quote above shows Paul Morrella is still "way outside [his] field" and  "far from an expert" when saying silly things like: "It is also obvious to any person that the opposition no longer sees addressing this imbalance as priority above economics."

Fact: These facts are now obvious to any person. 

Good move if it becomes reality

Craig Rowley: "It's not quite "free market economics" to begin with, Paul.  You need to take another look at the MDC's policy."

Respect of property rights is a key tenet of any free market (both commercially and individually). The moves, if implemented, are definitely moves in a free market direction. Moves that I would encourage, and believe will benefit Zimbabwe.

The Lancaster House Agreement granted white Zimbabweans significant minority rights: 20 seats out of 100 in the first parliament and, even more important, a strict and detailed protection of commercial farmland.

The Lancaster House Agreement dealt with a number of points from my reading. The most important point was something called "land reform". It's obvious under a new government that Lancaster House "land reform", and minority rights (for any race) are off the agenda. The world has changed, and putting much of this agreement to bed reflects those changes - moves forward reflecting a dawn of a new century.

My last comment

The land question, over which the liberation struggle was fought, hasn't yet been settled in Zimbabwe, nor elsewhere in Africa, and it will not be solved by the "free market" alone.

And Paul, judging by your comments on it, you've obviously never read the Lancaster House Agreement (presumbly because it's not your field).

It's a foolish thing to comment on it the way you do without having read it. If you do read it, you'd see what it dealt with and that most was concluded a long time ago (i.e. the ceasefire) and the another part (that to be traded for the ceasefire) was "put to bed" by the British a long time ago.

Free market economics

Land will be given to productive Zimbabweans regardless of their gender, race or political affiliation.

This is exactly what I was writing should take place. Ultimately this places Zimbabwe into a free market (property rights, and certainty). It also kills off the Lancaster House Agreement - as it should. This isn't "land reform", unless people consider what takes place in the United States, Uk, Australia, Canada etc land reform. This is free market economics, and if implemented will result in Zimbabwe becoming a richer nation - as Zimbabwe should be.

The Lancaster House Agreement

Paul Morrella: "It also kills off the Lancaster House Agreement ..."

That comment reveals a lack of knowledge of that agreement and the issues involved.

The Lancaster House Agreement granted white Zimbabweans significant minority rights: 20 seats out of 100 in the first parliament and, even more important, a strict and detailed protection of commercial farmland.

Look again

It's not quite "free market economics" to begin with, Paul.  You need to take another look at the MDC's policy.

Land reform: A key issue

Zimbabwe is facing a crisis because of conflict over Mugabe's approach to land reform. It's a central issue: political, economic and social.

Mugabe and ZANU-PF have ruthlessly manipulated this central issue of land reform in order to entrench and maintain their own power. That's undeniable.

From the late 1990s, Mugabe was under extreme pressure from the "war veterans" to deliver on land redistribution. Then in 2000, Mugabe put a revised constitution to a referendum – and lost.

From that moment on Mugabe has highly politicised the land reform issue. Clearly, he has been using it to attempt to win back popular support by presenting himself as fully and finally tackling the land question.

Hence, I'm somewhat surprised to find little information on what the MDC or other democratic opponents of the Mugabe regime plan with respect to dealing with the land reform issue. They could be promoting their solution as the better solution for tackling the land question, but they don't seem to be doing so.

MDC land reform pledge

I've found some information on how the MDC says it will deal with the land reform issue. It shows MDC does recognise the need for land reform and has accurately assessed Mugabe/Zanu-PF's moves after 2000 as compounding rather than resolving the land issue. 

What I found is a MDC policy document stating:

When the MDC forms the next government in Zimbabwe, it will accept neither the status quo that existed prior to 2000 nor the position it will inherit after eight years of mayhem and destruction by a criminal elite.

The MDC is fully committed to righting the historical imbalance in land distribution. An MDC government will bring the land crisis to closure through a democratic and participatory process that achieves equitable, transparent, just, lawful and economically efficient distribution and use of land, both for agricultural and other purposes.

Their plan is to conduct a land audit to ascertain who owns which piece of land. They'll also form an independent Land Commission to design a land tenure system.  There is no more detail to that plan, but they've articulated a key design principle that looks sound to me:

Land will be given to productive Zimbabweans regardless of their gender, race or political affiliation.

Social issues are for others to decide

Craig Rowley: "Paul, I was hoping you'd outline the way you see market mechanisms addressing the failure of Mugabe's obviously failed attempt at land reform"

Land reform in Zimbabwe has nothing to do with "market mechanisms". It is, and has always been, a social issue. Social issues are not my field.

Zimbabwe should attempt a return to a mix of peasant and commercial farming (attracting international investment). How it goes about getting this mix is up to Zimbabwe. I've no idea about what land reforms will mean to different social groupings; all I can tell you is what will make Zimbabwe richer and what will make it poorer yet.

Not my field

Craig Rowley: "Clearly that fails to answer the question put, so I'll ask it again: How will a democratic government in Zimbabwe (one that implements laws which respect private property) solve the land reform problem?"

Land reform? It's no longer 1970. Land reform was meant to redress the land imbalance between white and black Africans. Clearly this has taken place. There are currently fewer than 200 white farmers remaining. Land reform or land disaster, I think the figures speak for themselves. Another socialist feel good scheme gone horribly wrong.

Clearly defined and lawful property rights will see an improvement. Ultimately the perfect mix for Zimbabwe is commercial and peasant farming. Yes, a little like they already had. How that will come about is something I'm not experienced enough on the issue to say. I can only write about the economics of the present situation, and it doesn't  look good. Just another failed state with idiotic and proven policy failures.

Not your field? Okay

Paul, I was hoping you'd outline the way you see market mechanisms addressing the failure of Mugabe's obviously failed attempt at land reform. However, if looking beyond the present to solutions for the future is "not your field" (which you now seem to be saying is merely pointing out the obvious), then that's okay.

Economies don't work in isolation nor on fantasies

Craig Rowley: "Paul, where do you get the idea that Shona and Ndebele people have "little idea about farming"?" 

I didn't write that, now did I? What I wrote was that the newly created black farmers (city slickers and Mugabe stooges) have little idea about farming - especially commercial farming. This is easily understood by looking at production figures - down a remarkable 80 per cent. Along with food production being in massive decline we find all export crops such as tobacco are now all but non-existent.

In a perfect world Zimbabwe would enjoy many of the advantages Australia is now enjoying. High prices of mineral and food commodities means big export dollars. Peasant farming may be desirable in some circumstances; however, it's not the answer for a first rate economy. The figures in Zimbabwe prove the folly of such silly socialist fantasies.

Here is a link to an article that deals with this issue.

Zimbabwe's loss is another's gain, I suppose.

Not as simple as black and white, is it?

Paul, you wrote: "If land reform is to mean black farmers replacing whites ..."

I took the term you used -- "black farmers" -- to be inclusive of all black farmers and not just those people whom you call "city slickers and Mugabe stooges," so I'm glad you have made a clarification that you do not believe all black farmers are somehow incapable of producing results on a par with white farmers.

Now, let's get back to examining those root causes,  the need for land reform being a primary one. First, I'll briefly explain how I see the actions of the British South Africa Company has a lasting effect to this day.

As a result of the British South Africa Company being unable to profit from gold exploitation in Zimbabwe, it encouraged white settlement for farming purposes as an alternative means of generating income for the company. To set up that alternate income stream the company dispossessed indigenous Shona and Ndebele peoples of their land.

Subsequent policies implemented by those imposing their power over the people of this region compounded the original dispossession. For example the Land Appointment Act of 1930 separated land both in terms of quality and quantity along racial lines and that land structure has largely carried through into the post-independence period.

Farming for Food in Zimbabwe

Paul, where do you get the idea that Shona and Ndebele people have "little idea about farming"?  Do you know who produces most of the food crops?  Who produced most of the food crops before the Mugabe government purchased—and, from 2002, also seized—many large farms and established resettlement areas on them?

Decades of work wasted, decades of work starting again

Craig Rowley: "A democratic government in Zimbabwe, should one finally come, would still face the problem of land reform. How will it solve that problem? Reinstate the "willing seller, willing buyer" clause of the Lancaster House Agreement?"

If land reform is to mean black farmers replacing whites, no it won't.

There are fewer than 200 white farmers remaining, and if Mugabe stays in power this year that number will be but a handful. It seems highly unlikely those farmers who left in 2003 will wish to return. That's decades, and decades of experience wiped in a blink of an eye. It never had to be that way, and shouldn't have been that way.

The problem black farmers face is bank funding. The excuse given is that the title deeds over the land are hazy. The real reason is of course that banks see the loans as dead loans (many of the "new land owners" have little idea about farming). A bank (mostly white) is hardly wanting to be in a position of having to take back  black land, now is it? Which leaves of course the IMF? ... hold on ... Britain maybe? ... hold on ... China perhaps? ... South Africa ... anyone?

An at least a semi-functioning government should be the first order of business. A government, like - I don't know - one that has laws that respects peoples property and such.

Try again

Yesterday I'd asked: How will a democratic government in Zimbabwe solve the land reform problem?

Paul Morrella answered (in essence): Step 1 is a semi-functioning government that implements laws which respect private property.

Clearly that fails to answer the question put, so I'll ask it again: How will a democratic government in Zimbabwe (one that implements laws which respect private property) solve the land reform problem?

The reason I ask this question is twofold: (1) I'm genuinely interested in how people of different political persuasions see the solutions to the problems the people of Zimbabwe face; and (2) I'm highlighting the fact that removal of Robert Mugabe from power in Zimbabwe only deals with some of the issues and when he goes (soon I hope) Zimbabwe will still need to address the key underlying issue, i.e. the need for land reform.

Land reform in a future democratic Zimbabwe

A democratic government in Zimbabwe, should one finally come, would still face the problem of land reform. How will it solve that problem? Reinstate the "willing seller, willing buyer" clause of the Lancaster House Agreement?

I disagree, but let's talk about it

Paul, why not stop with the "silly ageing socialists" routine, take a second look at the root causes of the current situation in Zimbabwe, consider them and discuss them in the way Margo had envisaged for Webdiary?

Looking at the root causes, I see that only one is Robert Mugabe and his autocracy, power hunger and paranoia.  

I also see that there is more to the problem than just that one root. Removing Mugabe and his dictatorship from power and replacing him with a democratic goverment which respects rule of law may solve, say, half of Zimbabwe's problems.

History

Craig Rowley: "No, the historic roots of the problem do not absolve Mugabe or his regime, but understanding them could assist in dealing with the situation today. Don't you agree?"

No.

The issues you write of have little to do with the problems Zimbabwe faces. Those problems are very real, and very real-time economic problems. These problems are in a world that has changed from one hundred plus years ago. The only people who benefit from the problems you write of are Mugabe (plus thugs), and silly ageing socialists with their ludicrous and discredited dependency theory fantasies.

Do you really have to resort to straw-man so often?

No, the historic roots of the problem do not absolve Mugabe or his regime, but understanding them could assist in dealing with the situation today. Don't you agree?

histoticist standpoint

Craig Rowley: "Did they really begin then? Didn't the problems faced by the Shona, Ndebele, and other indigenous peoples of this region actually begin when the British South Africa Company started using Maxim guns to "do business"?"

Indeed, and that's what absolves Mugabe's regime of any responsibility for anything that has happened since the end of white rule, when was it, 1980?

Certianly, that's the kind of histoticist standpoint he most frequently takes whenever he feels confronted by criticism.

The past is the past

Craig Rowley: "Did they really begin then? Didn't the problems faced by the Shona, Ndebele, and other indigenous peoples of this region actually begin when the British South Africa Company started using Maxim guns to "do business"?"

Totally irrelevant to the subject. Africa will never get out of colonization until it moves. The past is the past and that can't be changed - it (Africa) certainly doesn't need white men looking for "associated chips on their shoulder". All failures look for excuses for their failures. The present day leadership of Zimbabwe isn't an exception.

Problems began when?

Paul Morrella: "Zimbabwe's problems began when it came to paying back loans ..."

Did they really begin then? Didn't the problems faced by the Shona, Ndebele, and other indigenous peoples of this region actually begin when the British South Africa Company started using Maxim guns to "do business"?

Zimbabwe is what it is

Angela Ryan: "That wouldn't matter to you or NeoLiberal or other anarchist capitalists but it did to the Mugabe government, to their credit."

Zimbabwe's problems began when it came to paying back loans - and of course nobody ever complains when a loan is being approved, funny that.

Silly old Robert Mugabe made what is possibly the most stupid economic decision he could've made - he removed the people with farming skills. The crazy part is that if he had  left things as they were Zimbabwe would now be raking in the cash.

Anarchist capitalists by nature permit the poor to starve, and then blame the victim. Such is the nature of the beast: “me, me, me..."

No, we talk about free, free, free.... It beats having silly socialists beating you up with sticks. There's little hope unfortunately for the present day Zimbabwe - and no amount of you wishing or blaming is going to change that basic fact.

Zimbabwe on the long road to certain ruin

Angela Ryan: "How astute of you that NeoLiberals "didn't invent property rights" and the reason you have "... no idea how a few hundred farmers rate as doyens of neoliberalism..." is because I neither said it nor implied it. One tries not to ascribe words and meaning to people that they haven't said, eh Paul?"

Zimbabwe removed a number of white farmers - they'd been on the land for generations. Mugabe kindly gifted the farms to both himself and his thugs. The pity for Zimbabwe was that very few thugs take horticulture lessons in between thug class.

Paul: "So yes, if you wish to start taking assets away from people (because you just happen to think it your right); expect to deal with the ramifications. It's human nature to work for something that "belongs" to you. If that carrot is taken away so is a level of desire (not good for society)....."

Duh, no one disagrees with that. No brainer and irrelevant.

Certainly not irrelevant; just uncomfortable. If you take away the reward for desire (owning something), expect to be poor.

As for your theories of collectivization in times of trouble working, reading past history makes any success seem most unlikely. The reason why indeed the "white western world" is the rich world - the vast majority of people living in it gave up on that mumbo jumbo eons ago.

The IMF btw came about in an effort to allow poorer nations a borrowing capability. Let's be frank here: people don't purchase Zimbabwe bonds. Mostly what the nay sayers rely on in attacking such efforts of liquidity is racism pure and simple. It goes something along the line of we all know (though we don't say it) that many nations in the world are incapable of understanding the basics of prudent financial management. So therefore we're bad people for attempting to get them to understand basic rules.

Without the IMF, nations such as Zimbabwe will rely solely on the patronage of richer nations. We are witnessing such things now with China entering the African market. Of course this patronage won't be without cost - borrowing money never is. Certainly the United States (amongst others) has played a role in such patronage all over the world, and that was something the IMF was meant to curtail. My opinion is that, with or without the IMF, such things will continue throughout our lifetimes. Business has never changed and it'll never change - a little like human nature.

The nature of the best is not what is best for all but for "me"

Hi Paul, kindly read the posts I previously have done to help you understand both the land reform program of Zimbabwe and the negative impact of the IMF enforced Neo-Liberal economic policies that brought Zimbabwe to the brink of disaster as far as the poor are concerned. That wouldn't matter to you or NeoLiberal or other anarchist capitalists but it did to the Mugabe government, to their credit.

The main problem for Zimbabwe agriculture is the transition time – eZimbabwe has invested over 150 million towards this. Perhaps instead of using money to cause unrest, the UK and US based multinational funds could have supported and aided the changes and allowed debt reduction as for other more pliable African governments (yes, debt repayment is used as a control weapon, no surprise there) instead of sanctioning and reducing trade and money supply to try to strangle the country.

So yes, the country is in trouble financially and it is clear the internationalists have a huge role in this. Anyone can see Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hitman plans and actions of multinational interests in action.

I doubt racism has anything to do with anything that happens in the world as far as money goes, it is pure power. Power to make more money however they wish at whatever local cost – human or environment or social or political. It is also known as exploitative colonialism. That is what Zimbabwe has fought and is still fighting.

That is what we here need to be aware of, both by our now multinational companies in individual nations and by other more powerful nations against us.

That is why we are at risk of being a nuclear waste dump for the world economies. It is multinationalist colonialist action where companies see a buck, know the cost, and are happy for the local people to pay it, rather than in their backyard.

The cost of resisting multinational colonialism is first, economic problems, then funding and media support for the stooge opposition, and finally perhaps, violence from within or external military from a proxy force.

We have seen in with the Dominican invasion of Haiti (US training, equipping and backing), the allegedly-US backed coup attempts against Chavez, the economic attack upon Russia when Putin removed international stooges running that country down and the proxy threat by border nations, and in Iran with economic attack and the sponsoring of opposition and terrorist groups by groups wanting to change the democratic regime there. And plenty of examples in Perkins’ book from longer ago. One might wonder just what the regime of Saudi and UAE have that makes them OK re nuclear energy and Iran not. Actually, it is more about what Economic Hit team one belongs to, isn't it?

So Zimbabwe is in the Economic Hitman target sights and types like Paul are part of the attack.

Paul: “As for your theories of collectivization in times of trouble working, reading past history makes any success seem most unlikely. The reason why indeed the "white western world" is the rich world - the vast majority of people living in it gave up on that mumbo jumbo eons ago..."

Really?

I seem to remember certain now EU nations post WW2 with huge debts on collective support sharing food and fuel in a system involving government-issued coupons for food essentials. We had it here, and the UK continued it into the 50s. I am sure the black market parasites would have found ways to make more profit – such types are anarchist capitalist motivated even when there is widespread suffering and need by the opportunity for exploitation. On the international stage it goes on even now and we don't see it because? Well, consider who owns the media.

Anarchist capitalists by nature permit the poor to starve, and then blame the victim. Such is the nature of the beast: “me, me, me..."

Cheers

Human Nature from Paul's Perspective?

I'm keen to learn whether there is, in your view Paul Morrella, an invariant human nature?   If so, then what, from your perspective, determines/constrains it?  As you see it, to what extent is human nature malleable?

 

If you think things are bad now

Angela Ryan

One must remember that land and property ownership is defined by the domestic laws of each country.

I'm not going to argue with that.

Do you disagree with the freezing and confiscation of property assets belonging to Zimbabweofficials by EU and US governments – despite no criminal conviction against any of them either in the International Court or under their own domestic law?

I guess it comes down to domestic law as you say. Although freezing assets is markedly different to confiscating them. The people involved of course can apply through the legal system to have the assets "unfrozen".

Neoliberals didn't invent property rights, and I'd think most people neoliberal or not; would insist on some form of property rights. I've also no idea how a few hundred farmers rate as doyens of neoliberalism? Even communists came to the conclusion that people do work their individual assets just that little harder (which benefits all society) when they own them.

So yes, if you wish to start taking assets away from people (because you just happen to think it your right); expect to deal with the ramifications. It's human nature to work for something that "belongs" to you. If that carrot is taken away so is a level of desire (not good for society).

Zimbabwe (or at least one or two people) now owns the "means to production" as you say. Very Sadly that most there will probably starve to death or at best leave the nation. You'll probably argue this has a certain equility about it.

What is interesting is whether the global financial credit squeeze will crash the perpetrators first, but somehow I think they are well cashed up and ready to buy, don't you? Eh, Paul?

Probably, though, unless Zimbabwe institutes some form of legally enforceable property rights, it won't be investment there. Well that is of course whilst a government and population still exist.

 

Property rights, that banana for those who perfect Economic War

Hi, Paul, confiscation is taking people's property; hence the EU and USA actions involving such are indeed taking their property.

How astute of you that NeoLiberals "didn't invent property rights" and the reason you have "... no idea how a few hundred farmers rate as doyens of neoliberalism..." is because I neither said it nor implied it. One tries not to ascribe words and meaning to people that they haven't said, eh Paul?

Paul: "So yes, if you wish to start taking assets away from people (because you just happen to think it your right); expect to deal with the ramifications. It's human nature to work for something that "belongs" to you. If that carrot is taken away so is a level of desire (not good for society)....."

Duh, no one disagrees with that. No brainer and irrelevant.

However, if it is the domestic laws being enforced that result in such then duh , just as here and in the USA and EU it will happen. That won't stop elites and angry overseas absent tenants with lots of money to run propaganda campaigns doing so as was described with the millions of bucks and disguised as "democratic" NGOs. The Oppenheimer family appears to be singled out by this article as an example of a British based bunch with land holdings the size of Belgium in Zimbabwe. Wonder how Belgium would feel about that size land just growing tobacco when locals are hungry and the nation needs food crops? Seventy percent of white farms grow tobacco according to that article.

As for "Sadly that most there will probably starve to death or at best leave the nation. You'll probably argue this has a certain equality about it...", I have already pointed out by collective ownership and distribution during times of famine from the drought and embargos and fuel shortages due to lack of foreign exchange – see embargos again – it is far more likely that people will survive than under the free market profiteering proposals of the foreign multinational backed opposition party. Zambia is a prime example of starvation while under NeoLiberal economical template.

Gosh where is a neighbour stooge country, like Ethiopia, when you want it, for the final stage of Perkins’ Economic Hitman action, to invade and remove the governing resistance to the all wonderful multinationals that Paul so loves and champions. Oh and their right to all the private property they can grab during invasions by their armies and stooge leaderships ... hmm … Iraq, Haiti, and further back we start to dig up a few imperial skeletons by the champions of property rights – think central and south America, think West Papua, Papua NewGuinea, and then keep thinking even back in Africa ... and then a quick tour of New Europe ...Why, we are even creating nation states to have those property rights ... think Kosovo ...

Ah, property rights, that great big banana for those who perfect the art of the Economic Hitman.

Zimbabwe, an Economic Hit, opens our eyes to what can happen

Hi Paul, well, "property rights" is an interesting concept.

Do you mean personal property or land?

Are we defining what ownership means or what rights such ownership allows or how ownership is granted or gained? If ownership of property is due to criminal activity can it be removed? Is that still right? Who defines what “criminal activity" is? If it is the state then is not Zimbabwe, just like us, able to define when property should be confiscated?

I understand there are quite a few new laws recently enacted in the NeoLiberal sphere(UK / USA / Australia / Netherlands, now France) that pertain to removal of property rights when such are attained through non-approved (by that regime) means. And it appears that if one belongs to other regimes that are under economic siege by the NeoLiberal clique then such property rights are also assailed. Such as the EU action against Zimbabwe. (Somehow the recent Saudi illegal action and USA illegal action does not result in EU sanctions.)

One must remember that land and property ownership is defined by the domestic laws of each country.

Do you disagree with the freezing and confiscation of property assets belonging to Zimbabwe officials by EU and US governments – despite no criminal conviction against any of them either in the International Court or under their own domestic law?

According to the article I linked – did you read it carefully? – the changes to the property / land ownership in Zimbabwe were negotiated with Britain and agreed to and the latter were meant to compensate the former owners. As the relationship soured the understandings seemed to have changed.

As far as ownership goes it seems even Australia has some qualms about means of production being owned and controlled by overseas internationalists (and quite rightly). Now, what if we had a stooge leader who sold it all off for peanuts to mates in times of recession and the actual running and sovereignty of our nation was in the hands of multinationals? Can't happen??

Hmm, just guess that is why we had a little ripple about Chinese ownership recently....

And can't happen on such a scale? Consider Russia, which has just been through such traitorous activities that began more or less with Yeltsin and sorted out by Putin – hence the current anti-Putin propaganda we are fed by the NeoLiberals.

We can so easily go down the same path while people fail to see the big picture and power of multinational and banking conglomerates. We are already too privatised for our own security. The Zimbabwe opposition party, backed to the tune of millions and political NGOs millions and media stooge millions, has official NeoLiberal policy of selling off everything, even all the education, to anyone who will buy. Can one even imagine how that will affect the poor?

And we talk of squatters and slums being bulldozed. But what of their health risk in such dwellings? And perhaps even more justification to allow land reform so they can have a chance. All over the world people's homes are being taken using all kinds of excuses. I am sure we can think of many local and allied examples. If that is the worst that is done then certainly condemn for removing shelter, as one should condemn all who do so without fear and favour. Do you think they, the poor of Zimbabwe, will be better off under a NeoLiberal group? At least there are no mass starvation deaths as in Zambia and Malawi etc, under NeoLib control nor government / military mass murders as under our allies’ action. Until the Neo.

Zimbabwe is a country with much natural resources and farming potential. Until the Neolib policies imposed upon it by the World Bank and the IMF it had sustained growth and healthy economy

"....Throughout its first decade of independence, Zimbabwe's economy grew at an average of 4 percent per year, and substantial gains were made in education and health. Zimbabwe was handling its finances well, and between 1985 and 1989 had cut its debt-service ratio in half..."

(Deborah Potts, "Structural Adjustment and Poverty: Perceptions from Zimbabwe," School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Patrick Bond, "Political Reawakening in Zimbabwe," Monthly Review, April 1999.).And then in 1991:

"...In January 1991, Zimbabwe adopted its Economic Structural Adjustment Program (ESAP), designed primarily by the World Bank. The program called for the usual prescription of actions advocated by Western financial institutions, including privatization, deregulation, a reduction of government expenditures on social needs, and deficit cutting. User fees were instituted for health and education, and food subsidies were eliminated. Measures protecting local industry from foreign competition were also withdrawn..."

Now doesn't that sound a locally familiar policy???

How did it affect a country like Zimbabwe?? As we see in the NeoLib economies at present, the rich get richer and the poor are pushed to the brink, but in Zimbabwe, the brink is a lot worse than the brink here........

"...In 1995, the IMF cut funding to the program when it felt that Zimbabwe wasn't cutting its budget and laying off civil service employees fast enough. Furthermore, the IMF complained, the pace of privatization wasn't rapid enough. But implementation of ESAP was quite fast enough for the people of Zimbabwe. By 1995, over one third of Zimbabwe's citizens could not afford a basic food basket, shelter and clothing. From 1991 to 1995, Zimbabwe experienced a sharp deindustrialization, as manufacturing output fell 40 percent..."

Just as a matter of interest, perhaps Angelo etc can let us know how our own manufacturing industry has fared under the NeoLib polices of the internationalist, where the multinationals move their production to the cheapest site unless bribed to stay, though usually, as we see with Mitsubishi, only temporarily. Currently our own manufacturing is the fourth bottom in the world as far as growth. Nice. Think of all the nations ahead of us. Without the mining boom and controlled ownership of mining companies we would be in a tail spin.

Zimbabwe is just another potential source of very cheap impoverished (by NeoLib policies and embargos) labour with natural resources to exploit.

It is a target of NeoLib control from the resource sector to the GM crop sectors. (Zimbabwe provides GM free beef to the EU). The nation is under an economic and resource / trade blockade. Is there any wonder there is economic extremis going on?

Zimbabwe's resistance is a problem for the NeoLibs as it sends a dangerous message to other "nation" states currently with resources and cheap labour being exploited – usually to the point of collapse and then move on time.

This is a problem beginning and ending with the powerbrokers of the NeoLib / multinational / banking conglomerates in the classic style of Perkins' Confession of an Economic Hitman.

What is interesting is whether the global financial credit squeeze will crash the perpetrators first, but somehow I think they are well cashed up and ready to buy, don't you? Eh, Paul?

Just like Russia, the most obvious recent example, look out America.

Property rights. The all-important issue to Paul and NeoLiberals. But what kind of property and what kind of rights and for whom?

And there are the crimes against property that are never properly investigated. Like Opes, Prime et al and the other recent financial pyramid scams that have collected so many millions for some recently. And so many big crashes where there have been interesting last minute transfers – and immune directors. Cashing up before crashing out. Seems to me that is where the property rights are most abused – the property rights of the little person.

Cheers

A little shop of horrors

Angela, I followed your link to Zimbabwe Under Siege by Gregory Elich, dated August 26, 2002, but obviously updated since then.

Inter alia, we read this there:

Reports from Zimbabwe claim that the British government was involved in planning a mass action to force President Mugabe from office, following the scenario that was implemented against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. The British High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Brian Donnelly, was said to be instrumental in formulating the plan, and it should be noted that he had been the ambassador to Yugoslavia for two years and undoubtedly played a role in Western covert operations there.

Elich is not only going in to bat for the hard done by Mugabe, but for good old Slobodan Milosevic as well. I went on reading, expecting to come upon some praise for Nicolai Ceaucescu, Enver Hoxha, Erich Honecker, and revelations about the evil forces at work as revealed in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. However, I was disappointed.

But not for long. You came to the rescue with this paean of Putinophilic praise:

And can't happen on such a scale? Consider Russia, which has just been through such traitorous activities that began more or less with Yeltsin and sorted out by Putin – hence the current anti-Putin propaganda we are fed by the NeoLiberals.

We can so easily go down the same path while people fail to see the big picture and power of multinational and banking conglomerates. We are already too privatised for our own security. The Zimbabwe opposition party, backed to the tune of millions and political NGOs millions and media stooge millions, has official NeoLiberal policy of selling off everything, even all the education, to anyone who will buy. Can one even imagine how that will affect the poor?

And we talk of squatters and slums being bulldozed. But what of their health risk in such dwellings? And perhaps even more justification to allow land reform so they can have a chance. All over the world people's homes are being taken using all kinds of excuses.

Quite so. All kinds of excuses. To get a handle on the scale of this, consider the following interview:

JUAN GONZALEZ: We're also joined on the phone by Bill Fletcher of TransAfrica. Bill Fletcher, you have been long active in this country in building support for the liberation movements in Africa, and like many of us in the progressive movement, you in the past have supported the efforts of the Zimbabwean African National Union and Robert Mugabe. Your view of what's going on now, and all of us, obviously, are skeptical when we hear pronouncements from the British government or the United States about what is going on in Zimbabwe, but your perspective on what's going on there?

BILL FLETCHER: Well, thank you. Thank you very much, Juan and Amy. I think we have to be clear that neither Blair nor Bush have the moral authority to criticize what's going on in Zimbabwe. So, we should just shove that aside and just look at the concrete situation. I think that the -- what the ambassador was saying, unfortunately, just does not pass the straight face test. You cannot explain how somewhere between 200,000 and 1.5 million people in a four-week period would be removed from their homes without other adequate housing for them in the middle of winter? I mean, can you imagine in the United States if we bulldozed Harlem in January and said, we're going to -- we're eventually going to set up homes? I mean, there is something problematic in this, and it's for this reason that many people, many deep and intense friends of Zimbabwe, are saying something is fundamentally wrong with the way that this is being approached. And it raises all sorts of questions about what the motivations are.

The slum dwellers are at the bottom of the social heap in Zimbabwe, and Mugabe is at the top. It strikes me that it is just possible that, as in Soweto under the apartheid regime in South Africa, the slums were likely a hotbed of opposition to Mugabe. He would hardly have acted against them if they were full of his supporters.

What you have provided us with is what psychologists call a rationalisation: a justification after the fact. Bulldozing the homes of 200,000 to 1.5 million people in the middle of winter without providing alternative accomodation is not likely to be about improving their health. As far as I can gather, those people were relocated to even worse accomodation, but behind barbed wire and patrolled by Mugabe's thugs.

It's called political intimidation.

They'll lead you over the cliff

Angela Ryan: "And Paul, as you have already defined yourself as an anarchist capitalist, it does not surprise me that you write in support of the internationalists who do indeed seem to think their birthright allowed all kinds of international crimes.

I write in respect of property rights. It seems you don't respect yours (or at least other peoples). I find that most unfortunate.

And yes, it will get worse

Angela Ryan, there's nothing good about Mugabe nor anything good happening in Zimbabwe. The place is in complete ruins, and nobody at this point can save it. If it continues along this path people will be able to walk in there and start a new nation (the old will simply become non existent).

You cannot break a trust between people and government regarding private property. Obviously if police walked into your home and divided up amongst themselves, you'd be less then pleased. You would be most unlikely to go about investing (either time, money or effort) into the future of the country.

Unfortunately some, and there are many in this world, believe a birthright exists solely for them. This birthright somehow bestows upon them things that have either been paid or in this case not. In law this is known as theft, and it brings with it ramifications, sometimes in the legal arena, and sometimes outside it. Zimbabwe is now experiencing these ramifications - and only Zimbabwe has itself and its idiotically laughable dictator to blame.

Picture of an Perkins Economic Hit in Action-See Zimbabwe,

Hi Fiona. What a pity the world is not so interested when a superpower has a clearly fraudulent election – or two or three, and Sarkozy had better hope no one looks again at his exit polls compared to the electronic voting data. And as for protestors, which super power used rubber bullets on their protestors before the Iraq war, and which ally used real bullets and killed so many? There are far greater evils in this world that we completely ignore. We are off to cheer on China at the Olympic Games, and they just crushed and took away any opposition to their occupation.

I guess Mugabe's big mistake was not to have Diebold machines in place.

Or would that still be a problem? If he had won on electronic machines and exit polling suggested other results and electronic machines were shown to be both hackable and programmable and owned by Mugabe's mates??

Or was kicking out Rio Tinto from the fantastically rich diamond/gem flats just a bit too brave? I wonder what would happen, who would invade us, if we kicked out or nationalised the multinationals here.

Zimbabwe is like all the African tin pot nations, and ours as well in this current world of "capitalist imaginary money games" where loans are made with thin air and paid for by generations and a nation’s assets. Zimbabwe has been shut out from the money and is under embargo, so there is little wonder its economy is in tatters. How long would we last if all the private and public debts were called in and we were unable to export or import anything in a world without the bilateral cushion of cold war alternative regime backers?

Mugabe is no worse and certainly no better than most of the tin pot regimes in Africa set in place by the current and continuing colonial corruption mechanism. As a person he is a very intelligent and highly educated man, having been groomed since childhood for his role.

How many billions of African leaders do we keep hearing about with Swiss/Cayman/Bahamas accounts? Few African leaders/regimes bear scrutiny well. And for a long while Mugabe was the toast of the town when he had all the right companies there doing what they wanted after he gained power. But Mugabe has stopped playing the game and when he did, that is when the sanctions came.

Are there sanctions on the other corrupt and nepotistic and crumbling regimes in Africa? No, there is "aid" for those countries and "debt relief" for those who toe the line and do not commit to real independence.

This is a true Perkins Confessions of an Economic Hitman battle going on before us and we don’t even recognise it.

Fiona, if you have a look at this article there is an alternative view, as one sees for most things.

Here is a paragraph about adopting the changes the NeoLibs wanted here and perhaps therein lies a lesson for us, although less extreme hopefully:

"There was a time when the management of the economy in Zimbabwe was highly regarded in Western circles. Throughout its first decade of independence, Zimbabwe's economy grew at an average of 4 percent per year, and substantial gains were made in education and health. Zimbabwe was handling its finances well, and between 1985 and 1989 had cut its debt-service ratio in half. (6) However, the demise of socialism in Europe resulted in an inhospitable environment for nations charting an independent course, and Zimbabwe felt compelled by Western demands to liberalize its economy. In January 1991, Zimbabwe adopted its Economic Structural Adjustment Program (ESAP), designed primarily by the World Bank. The program called for the usual prescription of actions advocated by Western financial institutions, including privatization, deregulation, a reduction of government expenditures on social needs, and deficit cutting. User fees were instituted for health and education, and food subsidies were eliminated. Measures protecting local industry from foreign competition were also withdrawn.

The impact was immediate. While pleasing for Western investors, the result was a disaster for the people of Zimbabwe. According to one study, the poorest households in Harare saw their income drop over 12 percent in the year from 1991 to 1992 alone, while real wages in the country plunged by a third over the life of the program. Falling income levels forced people to spend a greater percentage of their income on food, and second-hand clothes were imported to compensate for the inability of most of Zimbabwe's citizens to purchase new clothing. A 1994 survey in Harare found that 90 percent of those interviewed felt that ESAP had adversely affected their lives. The rise in food prices was seen as a major problem by 64 percent of respondents, while many indicated that they were forced to reduce their food intake. ESAP resulted in mass layoffs and crippled the job market so that many were unable to find any employment at all. In the communal areas, the rise in fertilizer prices meant that subsistence farmers were no longer able to fertilize their land, resulting in lower yields. ESAP also mandated the elimination of price controls, allowing those shop owners in communal area who were free of competition to mark prices up dramatically. In 1995, the IMF cut funding to the program when it felt that Zimbabwe wasn't cutting its budget and laying off civil service employees fast enough. Furthermore, the IMF complained, the pace of privatization wasn't rapid enough. But implementation of ESAP was quite fast enough for the people of Zimbabwe. By 1995, over one third of Zimbabwe's citizens could not afford a basic food basket, shelter and clothing. From 1991 to 1995, Zimbabwe experienced a sharp deindustrialization, as manufacturing output fell 40 percent. (7) According to an economic writer from the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), "There is a general consensus among the people of Zimbabwe that ESAP has driven many families into poverty. The program only benefited a privileged minority at the expense of the underprivileged majority." (8) As intended by Western financial institutions, one could argue....."

So Mugabe leaves the NeoLiberal / globalisation policies (a very dangerous action from the point of view of those who benefit from such and the CFR et al):

"The government of Zimbabwe felt it could no longer endure this debacle, and by the end of the 1990's, started moving away from the neoliberal program. Finally, in October 2001, the abandonment of ESAP was officially announced. "Enough is enough," declared President Mugabe. "ESAP is no more." A press release issued by the governing ZANU-PF declared, "The termination of ESAP brings to an end the era of control of our economy by the IMF and the World Bank. While we must continue to work with these organizations on agreed projects, they will no longer dictate the direction of policy and the country." Price controls were implemented for basic commodities that soaring prices had made all but unattainable for many poor Zimbabweans, including bread, maize meal, flour, sugar, cooking oil, beef, chicken, pork, milk, soap and generic drugs. To counter the threat of companies closing in protest against price controls, President Mugabe announced, "The State will take over any businesses that are closed. We will reorganize them with workers, and at last that socialism we wanted can start again." Mugabe dismissed claims that government should not interfere with the market as "absolute nonsense," and stated that the nearly hourly price increases for goods and commodities had been unjustified."

So one can see that the economic problems happened due to the IMF and World Bank forces and that Mugabe changed direction for the common good of a suffering people rather than continue to enrich a small group.

Naturally, along the Perkins Model, the monied interests backed an opposition party as long as it had their plans in place and, indeed, the MDC will sell everything down to all the schools if it gets in power, ie that familiar "privatisation " aim of all asets we know so well here. Any wake up from us??

Imagine a completely deregulated Australia and everything in private hands for max profits and tiniest survival salary and you have a wonderful nation-factory floor model for the NeoLibs. We don't want that here do we? What would happen to feeding the people if there was no market control? The plan is to sack 75%of the public servants within two years and sell everything off and have foreign board controls. Sure, once in power the MDU would have an inflow of foreign capital as everything was sold off and it would appear a win but really it is a new slavery.

Zimbabwe resistance must be smashed as it is openly rebelling and the African nations are watching with great interest. Africa must be owned and its people enslaved as they always have been with just a few of the elites educated abroad, like Kofi (Swiss school with Condi) to continue the order. Mugabe was one to discover other values.

And the response? The IMF / World Bank cut off funds and Bush enacted credit and money freezing and propaganda funds against Mugabe, just after the former won his fraudulent election:

IMF policy was only one component in a broad-based Western effort to discipline Zimbabwe and force it to return to a neoliberal economic model in which the interests of Western capital would have primacy over the needs of its people. On December 21, 2001, President George W. Bush signed into law S. 494, the "Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001." The law instructed American officials in international financial institutions to "oppose and vote against any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the government of Zimbabwe," and to vote against any reduction or cancellation of "indebtedness owed by the government of Zimbabwe." The law also authorized President Bush to fund "an independent and free press and electronic media in Zimbabwe," referring to media opposed to the government of Zimbabwe. Six million dollars were granted for aid to "democracy and governance programs," a euphemism for groups seeking to topple the government."

Other African nations like Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique, pressured and impoverished by the aid and loans that kept them goingwere threatened in late 2001 by the UK – that wonderful source of Live Aid type selected support propaganda programs.

Sanctions were then imposed by the EU and the US against Zimbabwe businesses, officials and even the Anglican Bishop after the last elections that were declared unfair when their highly paid MDU team didn't win despite African observers finding no fault. Ah well. They said the same about Putin's win and were as usual silent about the American and French elections......

The article goes on to discuss the use of NGO's like the Westminster Foundation (UK-government based) alleged to have channelled 30 million to the MDU before 2001 (I wonder how much to Johnny here) and ZDT(Zimbabwe Development Trust) bankrolled by global mining and energy like Rifkind (Aussie mining also) and Croker (of South African pro-apartheid fame) and backed mainly by white Rhodesians. The article also describes in great detail how the media interests are "helped" and thus one does not have to be super-analysing to know what controls votes in a democracy – the media, as we see here .When one looks at the money involved in propaganda sources against Mugabe one can see one must be careful of the sources of information one uses and to put it in perspective with the big picture of a Perkins Hit in progress.

And here is a little about that drought that affected most of Africa (and here too) but especially IMF/NeoLiberal conforming non-land reform Malawi where people starved due to IMF impositions against grain saving:

The situation worsens with each day. Western news reports focus their gaze on Zimbabwe, attributing the drop in agricultural output primarily to disruption caused by land redistribution. While it is a normal pattern for land reform to cause some temporary dislocation, clearly drought is the major factor in the decline of agricultural output. All of the other countries the WFP identified as being at risk have seen their crops suffer, none of which are undergoing land reform, while the crisis is thought to be worst in Malawi. (67)

In Malawi, Western demands forced that nation to dispose of its grain reserves in order to conform to the neoliberal economic model. The IMF then halted new loans and the United States and Great Britain severed aid in response to questions over the accounting of the sale of the grain reserves. Left without grain reserves, Malawi had nothing to fall back on when the drought deepened. Western officials also pressured Malawi to eliminate food subsidies, again according to neoliberal prescription, and the subsequent escalation in prices meant that maize very rapidly reached the point of unaffordability for most people. February 2002 saw the first reports of people dying of starvation in Malawi. The WFP concludes that the elimination of the grain reserve and "the dramatic price increases played a critical role in the humanitarian crisis last year." Malawi was in a food crisis even before the onset of the drought, and the situation has since become far more troubling. (68).

as well as Swaziland and Zambia (undergoing a crisis right now):

"and that international sanctions are responsible for Zimbabwe's lack of foreign currency to import sufficient quantities of fuel."

I wonder how well our agriculture would go with fuel embargos – well, that is exactly what the Zimbabwe economy is battling. So how little we hear that drought and fuel hunger is involved in the drop in production in Zimbabwe and how little we hear of the neighbours with their deaths from starvation.

And there is an interesting stat about who farms what when considering the "food basket " legend:

"The extent of the net effect of land reform has been exaggerated in Western reports, which operate on the premise that only white commercial farmers are producing a meaningful supply of food. In actuality, black small-scale farmers account for 70 percent of Zimbabwe's production of maize, while the main crop grown by the large white commercial farms is tobacco. (72)

And as to the food aid then sent to Zimbabwe, much was announced and then held back blaming the land reform for the food crisis and the US insisted upon sending – you guessed it – the poisoned chalice of GM Maize as did Zambia also, fearing loss of exports to EU – something we should keep in mind.

There was also an interesting Grain Marketing Board experience that all the world can learn from, how commercial profits are put ahead of preventing starvation when private dealers are concerned, and how a strong state is important in times of scarcity:

"Prior to the issuance of permits to private firms, many commercial farmers were hoarding food, refusing to sell to the Board in hopes of realizing greater profits elsewhere. At the end of a six-week period in January 2002, during which the Grain Marketing Board impounded 36,000 tons of hoarded maize, Minister of Lands and Agriculture Joseph Made declared, "We cannot have a situation where people are starving while others are withholding maize." (82)

Food shipments were halted by the foreign groups then upon the insistence that private not government organisations sell and distribute the food.

How would we feel here in such a situation?

And a little bit about land reform – do see what you think about what was written in this article about the history and progress of land reform and here is a little extract:

"Zimbabwe can no longer tolerate the grossly unjust distribution of land created by colonial expropriation. The average white farmer owns approximately 100 times more land than a black farmer, and the land he owns is far more suitable for agriculture. Farms belonging to the Oppenheimer family alone total an area exceeding the size of Belgium, while a great many large tracts of land belong to absentee owners. (93) Among the absentee landowners are members of the British House of Lords and other prominent British citizens, a fact not entirely unrelated to British efforts to derail land reform. ..."

There are always other views in history and ways of reporting facts and events. I still wonder how the recent world history will be reported for our grandchildren to learn but perhaps we should be more circumspect and cautious about how we interpret events reported by the very groups that brought us the Iraq War mass deception and have their own elections via bogus machines and controlled media.

Just thought a wide reader like you Fiona would be interested in this other perspective.

Cheers

Be all that as it may

Angela, I would not disagree with much of what you have written here. I have real problems with how the IMF and the World bank operates in regard to the poorer countries.

But be all that as it may, I do not think Mugabe's bulldozing of the shanties of the poor, leaving them completely homeless as well as hungry, can be explained other than in terms of the actions of a man who has no regard whatsoever for the suffering of fellow human beings, in this case his own countrymen. That is the only interpretation that can be put on that, whether by us or by any future generation.

No excuses can be made for this man. His attempts to hang onto power no matter what the will of the people, nor how great their suffering, (with life expectancy now down into the thirties and millions having been forced to leave the country) makes him one of the worst of the current batch of dictators in that unfortunate continent.  He shows no sign of revising his policies or tactics to retain control.

Africa seems destined to suffer these bastards well into the future. The UN will do nothing, and if a western country decided to intervene physically the current silence would be replaced with howls of protest from around the globe. No, nothing will be done. Business as usual. At least at his age Mubage cannot go on forever, but what sort of bastard will take his place is yet unknowable.

Economic hitmen at Zimbabwe's throat: the colour of their money

Hi Jenny, I think you missed the point.

That is: the problem in Zimbabwe is primarily due to the NeoLiberal market principles originally foisted upon it by the tools of the elite – the World Bank and the IMF. And, when the people started to really suffer, these were wound back. One is not allowed to do that in this unipolar world. Hence the sanctions and food aid were actually tied to putting these policies in place and selling the public assets to the waiting foreign vultures. The actual drop in production also coincides with other nations around it, severe drought, and lack of foreign reserves to pay for fuel imports (BP actually held back fuel imports). No fuel, no large scale agriculture/harvest etc. Other African nations have been heavily pressured by the UK and the US to shut down business with Zimbabwe; and this has also been tied to aid relief for these countries.

The will of the people? Perhaps with such propaganda tools and the millions spent by the UK in such a devastated country then the will can change to just survival.

Imagine if instead Zimbabwe had had low interest loans and had been allowed to trade as usual and its state owned companies allowed to use its resources for the people's benefit. No, the foreign companies are slathering, Rio is pissed off at being kicked out. There is no chance given to trade out of this economic crisis of international making. Black people are not allowed to rule their own nation and control their own assets – but heck, neither are Aussies here if we really looked closely at our own choices.

And Paul, as you have already defined yourself as an anarchist capitalist, it does not surprise me that you write in support of the internationalists who do indeed seem to think their birthright allowed all kinds of international crimes.

Instead let us hope the once leader of the non-aligned from Malaysia is heeded and the war criminals in our own midst are tried for their abhorrent crimes – Blair, Bush and Howard, and Aznar. They have done far more harm to others than any nationalist leader like Mugabe trying to keep his country clear of the parasites and his people fed.

Jenny, try actually reading the article I linked, it is certainly worth it to get a fuller perspective than that which the millions of PR money leaves us with.

Cheers

Points not missed

No, Angela, I didn't miss the point/s and as I said I am in general agreement with your assessment and comment. 

However I also say that no excuses can be made for Mugabe making things so much worse for the poorest in his country by such actions as knocking down their shanty homes. I note his army looks pretty well fed, as does he. There will always be food for a dictator's army, they make sure of that. Like the Burmese junta.

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